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5 Steps To Assess Mold Damage

1/21/2019 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation 5 Steps To Assess Mold Damage Mold infestation at a Johnson City, TN home

Accurate Mold Assessment

Mold can cause major damage at a residence in Johnson City, TN. A mold assessment is the only way to determine the extent of this damage. Mold remediation experts can perform an inspection and provide an estimate and schedule. Here are five steps involved in a complete assessment.

1. Locate Mold

The first step of an assessment is to determine whether mold is growing. Mold spores are everywhere, but moisture and food sources are necessary for spores to thrive and multiply. A homeowner can look for signs of visible mold. If a musty odor is present but no signs of mold or mildew are apparent, a mold specialist should search for hidden mold.

2. Determine Growth

Once it has been established that mold is growing, the extent of an infestation is the most important issue. Remediating a minor mold problem may cost several thousand dollars, but a major problem can end up costing tens of thousands of dollars.

3. Identify the Species

A homeowner will probably not be able to identify which type of mold is present without lab analysis. An environmental hygienist can take samples and provide accurate results as part of a mold assessment. If black mold or another toxigenic species is growing, remediation may require specialized equipment.

4. Obtain Remediation Estimates

A mold cleanup and remediation service can provide an estimate. Experts will factor in the equipment, methods, and labor costs necessary to stop mold growth and eliminate the residual effects of an infestation.

5. Make a Restoration Schedule

The final stage of an assessment involves determining the length of the remediation process. A mold cleanup service should be able to provide a schedule once the extent of the infestation and species are known.

Each of these steps is necessary for an accurate mold assessment. If mold is growing in a residence in Johnson City, TN, homeowners should act quickly to prevent the problem from worsening prior to remediation.

Some Simple Toilet Fixes

1/15/2019 (Permalink)

Some Simple Toilet Fixes

If you find water pooling around the floor of your bathroom, there’s a good chance you have a leaking toilet. Fortunately, most issues of this type don’t require replacing the entire bowl, and can instead be solved at low cost with a few replacement components.

1. Inspection

The first step is to gain a proper understanding of where problems are likely to occur. While an old toilet will not usually fail in the basin itself, it is possible for the wax seal beneath the toilet to disintegrate over time. To check the status of the seal, simply remove the plastic-capped bolts holding the toilet to the floor. Be sure to cut off the water supply line beforehand and empty the tank of the leaking toilet.

2. Replacement

If you have ascertained that the seal has failed, the next step in the toilet repair process is to purchase a replacement seal that fits your specific drain. Scrape the remaining pieces of the seal away from the outlet with a putty knife or other flat-bladed tool and place the new one over the drain. When reinstalling the toilet, it may be necessary to exchange or cut the bolts affixing the unit before replacing the caps.

3. Future Maintenance

Afterwards, it may be advantageous to place a caulk seal at the point where the toilet contacts the floor. This can help keep incidental moisture, such as condensation from shower steam, from seeping under the toilet and causing unwanted mold or bacterial growth. Be sure to also inspect pipes, supply lines, and the inner tank mechanisms for wear and tear that can cause other kinds of leaks. If significant water damage occurs, consider contacting a service specializing in water damage restoration.

While a leaking toilet can be a hassle, don’t hesitate to perform some simple repairs to keep your bathroom in good shape. Manage your home’s plumbing in Austin Springs, TN, properly to prevent lasting damage.

Keep Looters Away From Your Fire-Damaged Business

1/8/2019 (Permalink)

Commercial Keep Looters Away From Your Fire-Damaged Business Board up windows after fire damage in a Johnson City, TN property

Take Steps to Prevent Looting and Keep the Building and Yard Safe

At any moment, your Johnson City, TN, business could be affected by fire damage. Once the flames are gone and the smoke has been cleared out, your work isn't over. The safety and security of your property and business belongings are now at risk. You need to take steps to prevent looting and keep the building and yard safe.

  • Secure the roof.
  • Board up entry ways.
  • Add perimeter fencing.
  • Contact local authorities.

Protect the Roof and Address Openings

It's fairly common to have damaged roof openings as part of fire damage, and looters and other vandals may take advantage of those openings to access your building. Use plywood to prevent entry to your business and tack tarp over the exposed areas to keep rain, melting snow, and pests out of the building.

Prevent Unauthorized Access to the Building

Any windows or doors could allow access to your business and equipment. This is especially true after areas have been weakened by disaster. If you have exterior grade solid core doors, just make sure the locks are in good working condition. Otherwise, use plywood sheets and sturdy hinges to construct usable entryways for fire damage and remediation professionals.

Any doors and windows that aren't needed as entry points should be boarded up during fire cleanup to keep looters and other unauthorized people from entering the building. Store the windows, glass, and other components inside the building.

Install Perimeter Fencing

Even a temporary fence around your property can discourage vandals and other individuals from getting into your business during cleanup and reconstruction. This step is especially crucial if you have a lot of equipment, business documents, and other possessions in storage on the property. For the best results, choose fencing with diagonal braces on end and gate posts, a strong galvanized mesh, and lock and chain security.

Even if you have a good security system in place, these added steps can prevent further damages and losses. Don't add more trouble on top of fire damage by neglecting to secure your commercial property.

Will Filing a Homeowners' Insurance Claim Raise Your Rates?

12/29/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage Will Filing a Homeowners' Insurance Claim Raise Your Rates? Flooded home in Johnson City, TN

It's common knowledge that when a person gets into a car accident, his or her car insurance rates go up. When a person is diagnosed with an illness or utilizes his or her health coverage a lot, his or her health insurance rates go up. So, it would make sense that if you were to file a homeowners' insurance claim, your homeowners' insurance rates would go up, right? Unfortunately, the logic behind your thinking is sound. That said, there are some ways in which you can minimize your risk of rate hikes and keep your premiums relatively low.

Items That Often Result in Rate Hikes

First and foremost, it's important to understand what causes insurers to raise rates in the first place. Surprisingly, events such as a home flood or burglary often don't lead to extensive rate hikes. This is because your insurance company likely already included the cost of the risks in your policy, and also because the two examples are unforeseeable events. That said, your insurer may punish you if it receives an insurance claim for any one of the following:

  • Frozen pipes
  • Burse pipes
  • Mold remediation
  • Secondary water damage

This is because each of the above items is preventable. If your insurance company doesn't decide to drop your coverage, you can almost count on an increase in coverage rates.

How To Avoid Rate Hikes

If you're like most homeowners in Johnson City, TN , you will only file a claim in the event of a large loss. That said, because you're not likely to file a claim for a minor event, it makes zero financial sense to have a low deductible. If you plan on paying for the first $500 to $1,000 out of pocket, set aside that money in an interest-bearing account and, if needed, use it to repair your home. In the meantime, raise your deducible to match that amount. This will keep you from using your insurance needlessly and therefore, risking a rate hike.

Unfortunately, you cannot always avoid filing an insurance claim, and unfortunately, you can almost always count on a rate hike if you do. If absolutely necessary, you may be able to convince your local water remediation team to negotiate with your insurer for better rates on your behalf.

Pet Fire Safety 101: Tips for Your Furry Friends

12/29/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Pet Fire Safety 101: Tips for Your Furry Friends Remember to include your pets in your fire escape plan

Our pets are like family. Yet while we’d never forget to plan for how to evacuate our human family members in the event of a fire, many Austin Springs, TN, pet owners forget to make a similar plan for their four-legged family during a fire emergency. Fortunately, keeping pets safe during a fire can be as simple as planning ahead.

Getting Started

It can be hard to know where to start when forming a plan for how to protect your pet in a fire emergency. Ask yourself:

  • How you will locate your pet in a fire
  • Who will transport your pet during a fire
  • Where your pet will stay until your home is safe

Answering these pet safety questions in advance can save time and even lives.

Figure out hiding places

Does your cat like to hang out in the laundry room? Knowing where these are can save precious time if a fire breaks out. Note your pet’s hideaways and include them in your family’s fire plan or.

Be prepared for transport

Carrying a frightened animal can result in injury, in addition to being excessively stressful for the animal. Think ahead - place a leash and carrier near your home’s main exits to ensure pets can be quickly picked up and moved out.

Designate a safe space

The chaos of an emergency can pose new threats to your pet. Designate an area to place your pet during the fire - a car, for example, or an area of the yard. Next, think about where you can house your pet should you have to leave your home for days or weeks.

Your pets are cherished pals. Make sure that they are a part of your fire emergency preparation to ensure they’re here for years to come. Use these pet preparation tips to formulate a pet emergency plan and ensure they’ll be safe when disaster strikes.

Winter Storms: Preparing Your Business for Snow, Ice and More

12/29/2018 (Permalink)

Commercial Winter Storms: Preparing Your Business for Snow, Ice and More Winter storms can cause frozen pipes issues in your Gladstone, TN commercial building

Preparing Your Business for Snow

Every winter season usually has at least one winter storm that wreaks havoc on the population. Businesses are generally the worst affected because consumers stay home and limit their exposure to the elements. However, beyond business interruption, a storm can also cause significant damage, from frozen and burst pipes to electrical issues. What is a business to do? As a property owner, before this winter season, you should focus on four core areas: preparation, safety, inventory and contacts.

1. Preparation

While storm damage typically consists of broken windows, roof damage and flooding, winter weather adds the threat of freezing pipes to the mix. To prepare your building for the impending season, you can check for drafts, cracks and sealant issues. Make sure that weather stripping is in excellent condition, and ensure that your heating and ventilation system is working correctly, pushing heat to all areas of the building.

2. Safety

When it comes to a winter storm, slip and fall injuries are serious risks. Make sure that you have a plan for maintaining safe walkways and parking lots throughout the season. You can hire a plow service or ask your employees to shovel and salt the premises, ensuring both customer and employee safety.

3. Inventory

The amount of snowfall and fluctuating temperatures can lead to outside flooding as well as burst pipes. The weight of heavy snows, especially when cycling through the process of melting and refreezing, can lead to significant strain on a roofline. Therefore, you should document your inventory, both on paper and by photograph, to prove assets to your insurer in case a claim is necessary after roof collapse or flooding.

4. Contacts

While it is essential to keep all employees in the loop about preparation and potential disaster cleanup efforts, you should compile a list of important operational staff. Additionally, you may want to keep the number of a disaster restoration specialist in the Gladstone, TN, area on hand in case of an emergency.

A winter storm can prove problematic for a business. For this reason, it is vital to prepare and focus on the four key areas above.

How To Prevent Mold With Timely Mitigation

11/26/2018 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO How To Prevent Mold With Timely Mitigation Cleaning up after a water loss in a Gladstone,TN building

Water Damage can Become Mold Damage

Having water damage in your commercial property in Gladstone, TN, is bad enough, but if left unchecked, that damage can become a breeding ground for mold. The only way to prevent that from happening is to fix the problem as soon as possible. Water restoration experts help by drying, cleaning and replacing materials that are affected by leaks and high humidity.

1. Dry

The first thing that technicians do to prevent mold growth is to dry out the affected areas. Mold can start to gather in as little as 24 hours from the time the moisture level gets too high. All excess water is siphoned off, and then surfaces must be dried. Technicians use specialized equipment to expedite this process so that mold doesn't have a chance to take hold.

2. Clean

When you have water damage, the area it covers will probably need to be disinfected after it is dry. Even if the leak comes from a pipe, it is likely to pick up contaminants as it soaks through the floor, insulation or ceiling, turning it into Category 2 water. Specialists can test the surfaces for traces of bacteria and other microbes to ensure that the space is left clean.

3. Replace

Ideally, technicians can get to the affected area in time to ensure not only mold prevention but also structure maintenance. Occasionally, however, the damage is too extensive to salvage the flooring, walls or ceiling saturated by the water. When that happens, the portion that had to be removed must be replaced. Then, the tile, paint or other aesthetic elements must be blended so that it matches the surrounding surfaces.

Fixing water damage quickly helps get your building back in order, but it also helps to prevent secondary damage such as mold growth. By calling for professional repair as soon as you notice the problem, you can protect your building from further problems.

3 Tips for Dealing With Partial Loss

11/23/2018 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO 3 Tips for Dealing With Partial Loss Fire loss in Austin Springs,TN

How to Determine the Extent of Fire Loss or Smoke Damage

The term “partial loss” is used to describe property damage. Partial losses may require fire restoration or replacement. Total losses call for rebuilding. Here are three tips for determining the extent of fire loss or smoke damage when filing a commercial property insurance claim.

1. Document Damage

Whether you think that a commercial structure may be a partial or total loss, it is important to document all of the damage as soon as possible after a fire. Do not attempt to mitigate the situation before gathering photographic or video evidence of the full extent of the damage.

2. Specify Partial or Total Loss

The term “partial loss” is used to describe a structure that has not suffered a total fire loss. A total loss requires a complete rebuild, whereas a partial loss can benefit from mitigation and restoration. Building materials or contents that can be restored from fire or smoke damage may also be referred to as partial losses. An insurance adjuster will make the ultimate decisions regarding a commercial property claim.

3. Restore or Replace

Commercial insurance should cover the costs of restoring a partial loss or rebuilding a total loss. In either case, it is important to determine whether the policy will provide you with the replacement cost or actual cash value of contents and materials. The replacement cost is the full cost of an item at today's dollar value. The actual cash value factors in depreciation and other factors and may not be sufficient to replace the loss.

These tips should help you understand the difference between a partial and total fire loss. Property owners should allow adjusters and fire restoration specialists to determine the accurate categorization for the purposes of filing an insurance claim. No matter how extensive a partial loss may be, you can depend on a fire damage mitigation service located in Austin Springs,TN.

Top 4 Causes of Sewer Backups

11/18/2018 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO Top 4 Causes of Sewer Backups Clogged pipe in an Austin Springs,TN home

Common Causes Of Sewage Backup

Most residents of Austin Springs, TN, probably take the community’s sewer system for granted. However, it’s a critical component of the municipal infrastructure that can malfunction and cause significant problems for homeowners, such as a flooded basement. Understanding four common causes of sewage backups can help you minimize your risk and possibly spare you a messy cleanup.

1. Tree Root Infiltration

Tree roots can infiltrate pipes and cause a backing up of sewage into your home. To help reduce the likelihood of this dilemma, you should identify the location of sewer lines before planting any trees and shrubs. Keeping vegetation a safe distance from pipes may prevent root infiltration and the need for a line cleaning.

2. A System Overwhelmed by Storm Water

In many communities, storm water channels and sewage lines converge. If a significant storm dumps an excessive amount of rain, the system may become overwhelmed, causing a backing up of waste water. If your home is not equipped with a back-flow valve or other control device, the situation may cause a flooded basement.

3. Clogged Pipes

Clogged pipes are another serious issue that can result in a sewage backup. Items such as paper towels, feminine napkins, diapers and wipes should never be flushed down the toilet. Placing these products into the trash helps minimize the risk of potentially devastating clogs.

4. Damaged Pipes

Like many other components of a community’s infrastructure, sewer lines can deteriorate over time. Symptoms of a potential problem include consistently slow drains and a lingering sewage gas odor. If you have concerns about your home’s plumbing, you should promptly contact a licensed plumber who can properly evaluate your system, as well as diagnose and address any existing issues.

Sewage backing up that results in a flooded basement is an experience all homeowners hope to avoid. Although every home is potentially susceptible to this extremely messy dilemma, understanding common causes can help you take proactive measures to minimize risks and possibly avoid extensive cleanup and restoration endeavors.

Banning Cigarette Odors From Your Home

10/22/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Banning Cigarette Odors From Your Home Smoke odors from cigarettes can linger for decades in Gladstone,TN, homes

Whether you smoke cigarettes or think it is a bad habit, you probably don’t enjoy the smell of stale cigarette smoke. Unfortunately, though, smoke odors from cigarettes and cigars can linger for decades in Gladstone, TN, homes. You don’t have to put up with the smell of old cigarettes. By contracting with a restoration specialist for home deodorization, you can leave your home smelling fresh and clean.

A Holistic Cleanup Process

As you probably know, smoke from cigarettes has a funny way of getting virtually everywhere inside your home. When smoke contaminates walls, ceilings, furniture and other belongings, you need a holistic approach to removing it. Restoration professionals typically do the following to remove smoke odors:

  • Open windows and doors to allow fresh air into your home
  • Remove and replace all heating, air conditioning and other filters
  • Scrub walls with ammonia and glycol
  • Use a sealant to lock-in smoke odors on the walls and ceilings of your home
  • Paint walls and ceilings with a fresh coat of latex paint
  • Professionally clean all furniture, fixtures and personal belongings

Ozone
Cigarette and cigar smoke smell so badly because of the gases and toxic substances they release. When odors are extreme, restoration technicians often use ozone-generating machines for home deodorization. Ozone neutralize the foul odors caused by cigarette smoke. Professionals simply plug in the machine, set a timer and create ozone. Note, though, since ozone can be harmful to people, you must vacate your home when the ozone machine is creating the gas. Technicians repeat the process until all lingering odors are gone.

You don’t have to live with the unpleasant smell of old cigarettes. While removing ingrained odors is not necessarily simple for amateurs, professional restoration technicians deal with home deodorization all the time. With the right cleaning process and some assistance from ozone, your Gladstone, TN, home can likely smell as if no one has ever puffed on a cigarette there.